ROME Italian manufacturing activity expanded in April at its fastest rate in more than six years, a survey showed on Tuesday, as orders drove the index higher for the third month in a row.
The Markit/ADACI Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 56.2 from 55.7 in March, marking its highest reading since March 2011 and staying above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction for the eighth month in a row.
The sub-index for new orders rose to 58.5, the highest since February 2011, from 56.2 in March. A sub-index measuring output also hit a six-year high in April.
Last month the government said Italy's economy, consistently among the most sluggish in the euro zone, would grow 1.1 percent this year, slightly more than its previous 1.0 percent forecast.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Hugh Lawson)